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Published Articles

Waverly Farm owner Jerry Faulring writes a regular column called ‘It’s Time for Sharing’ for Free State Nursery, Landscape & Greenhouse News, a publication of the Maryland Nursery, Landscape, and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA). Published three times each year, Jerry’s articles are straight up stories of his successes and failures on the Farm with an intent to reflect on his experiences as a grower and share what he’s learned.

Posts about Best Practices

6 minute read

High Clearance Tractor

An overview of a versatile nursery tool

High clearance tractors have come a long way since they were MacGyvered in the field by farmers trying to solve agricultural problems on the fly. When Waverly was looking at high clearance tractors, we needed a versatile solution that would help with planting, spraying, cultivation, and weed control. It’s doing that plus reducing labor and chemical costs.

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5 minute read

No More Spring Panic Here...Maybe

Key data points for managing stress in the craziest season

Spring at a field production nursery can yield hair on fire anxiety. Every year we go like hell to get the deciduous plants dug before they come into full leaf, and every year the deadline looms at a different date. Managing the anxiety starts with a deep data dive into degree days.

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12 minute read

Your H2A and H2B Audit is Coming!

What to do when the Department of Labor comes knocking

If you find yourself being audited by the Federal Department of Labor, understand this: The investigation is not a process to teach you how to do a better job, to educate, and everyone feels good. The process is to find errors and mistakes. If your ducks are in a row, it will be less excruciating

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4 minute read

Hazards of Biting Critters

Why a bite from a poisonous creature should not be ignored

Even with the best precautions, field workers are liable to get bitten by spiders and other critters with which we share the outdoors. Sometimes these can lead to infections and even become life-threatening if not taken seriously. Beware that, aside from the locals, uncommon insects and arachnids can always hitch a ride from other regions and wind up on your land.

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fire-at-waverly-farm-destroys-buildings-and-equipment

9 minute read

Fire at Waverly Farm… and What You Need to Know!

It’s a nightmare scenario - your entire business burning down. Our loss was well over a million dollars in equipment, infrastructure, and supplies. We could have been better covered for not much more in premium. We won’t make that mistake again. No small business owner wants to take the time to prepare a disaster plan. Do it anyway.

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airplane-spraying-fields-with-herbicide

7 minute read

Off Target Herbicide Damage...Could Change Your Life Forever

Why “sharing” herbicide with neighbors is not someone else’s problem

Loss of beauty, biodiversity, and for so many of us, our livelihood due to herbicide damage is enough to keep you up at night. Off-target herbicide can occur because of spray drift and -this may surprise you- through temperature inversion. The problem is becoming more serious in Maryland, but so far has not been getting nearly enough attention.

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graphic-shows-legal-conflict-among-employees-and-employer

4 minute read

Are You a Negligent Employer?

A non-legally binding primer in how to not be

Even this abstract needs a disclaimer: The following is not intended to pass muster as legal advice. So to avoid a lawsuit, I make no claim for accuracy or legality. You can be held negligent in the areas of hiring, retention, supervision, and training, to name a few. Believe it or not, a company handbook can actually head off these and other potential employer/employee entanglements.

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original-waverly-farm-homestead-circa-1700

9 minute read

The History of Waverly Farm’s Land

A non-legally binding primer in how to not be

I’ve researched back to colonial days and found that ownership of the land now called Waverly Farm parcel can be traced to one of the most important families in Maryland’s history: the Carrolls. There were actually three Charles Carrolls who, from the 1600s through the 1800s, owned large parts of Maryland including the parcel eventually named Waverly Farm. There is a LOT of history in this place!

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method-using-compost-heat-to-warm-plant-propagation-operations

5 minute read

Compost Pile to Heat Generator

Turning a steaming pile of horse manure into an energy efficient asset

Back in 2009, I wanted to take my mind off the misery we were all enduring. My thoughts quickly drifted to horse manure. Our compost windrows produce enormous amounts of heat with sustained temperatures in the range of 145F. There had to be a way to harness that heat and use it in our plant propagation operation. Our invention, the “Propagation Hut,” has worked out pretty well.

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cash-flow-and-cost-analysis-forecasting-for-wholesale-nurseries

11 minute read

Cash Flow Wins the Day...Now More Than Ever

You can’t mind the store if you don’t know where the money is going

For growers, crunching the numbers is not much fun when compared to other aspects of running a nursery business. That’s how I felt when I was just starting out. That is, until I turned financial analysis into a game. The game, simple enough, was to prepare a cash flow statement and compare the forecast with actual results each month. Then you can start doing annual forecasts. Over time, you will start to see opportunities...

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marketing-success-equals-nursery-business-success

8 minute read

Successful Marketing is the Art of Not Competing On Price

Why businesses that fail at marketing fail period

The only way a business succeeds in creating positive cash flow and profits for future investment and cash reserves is through great marketing resulting in sales. Enterprises that engage in great marketing make it through the toughest of times. Good marketing is all about your company’s ability to identify the customer, satisfy the customer, and keep the customer.

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